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2017 Lower House Election / Turnout put at 2nd-lowest of 53.68%

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Voter turnout for single-seat constituencies in Sunday’s general election for the House of Representatives stood at 53.68 percent, up 1.02 percentage points from the previous lower house election in 2014, the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry said Monday.

Still, the figure was the second lowest since the end of World War II.

The sluggish turnout is believed to have reflected bad weather, brought on by a powerful typhoon that hit the country over the weekend.

In addition, the interest of voters apparently failed to pick up after media reported from the early stages of the official campaign period of the election that the ruling camp, led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party, was likely to score a resounding victory.

By prefecture, Yamagata in the Tohoku region marked the highest turnout, at 64.07 percent, while the lowest turnout was 46.47 percent in Tokushima in the Shikoku region, the ministry said.

Turnout stood at 54.08 percent among male voters and 53.31 percent for female voters, it said.

In recent lower house elections, voter turnout stood high at 67.51 percent in the 2005 poll, when postal service privatization was a major issue, and 69.28 percent in the 2009 poll, amid heightened expectations for a change of government.

But turnout then hit a postwar low in two straight polls, at the 2012 and 2014 elections.

Early voting hits record high

The number of voters who cast early ballots in the election in the 11 days through Saturday totaled 21,378,387, hitting a record high for a national election, the ministry said.

The figure, which accounted for 20.1 percent of overall voters, surged 62.5 percent from the previous lower house election in 2014, the ministry said.

The number for the latest election was some 5.39 million higher than the previous record, set in the election last year for the House of Councillors, which had a 17-day early voting period.

This time, many people apparently finished voting early due to the approach of a large and powerful typhoon.

The proportion of early voters in the latest lower house election increased from the 2014 poll in all 47 prefectures, with 37 of them seeing growth of over 50 percent. Akita Prefecture posted the smallest increase, of a respectable 28.4 percent.Speech

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